Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hall Passes

In what is quickly becoming a rite of spring, the Veterans’ Committee has once again passed on admitting a new member or two to its exclusive clique. And, at the risk of alienating all those fans whose pet candidates (Santo, Kaat, Oliva, Minoso, Torre, even Doug Harvey and Marvin Miller) weren’t elected, I can’t really work up the dander to declare that this latest non-election will result in dogs living with cats and the general end to Civilization As We Know It™.

I’m a Cub Fan, and I’d sure like to see Santo get his moment in the sun. And I think you can make a case for Minoso and Olivo, and perhaps a few other guys on that list. But at the same time, the Hall of Fame is a private institution with its own rules for admission. Unless Diebold was tabulating the ballots, it is unlikely that the election was fixed to screw one of these guys,

The AP reports that the Hall of Fame is now considering revising the Veterans’ Committee process, which was revised a few years back. I guess they’re getting a little nervous that, after three votes, the Committee hasn’t elected anybody – and that sure won’t draw the tourists to Cooperstown in July. Hall Chair Jane Forbes Clark said:

We are disappointed that no one has been elected in the three voting cycles. We will be evaluating this process and its trends at our next meeting, which is March 13, and discussing whether there should be any changes.

The board may decide that the trends are not what we thought they were going to be. Perhaps this hasn't worked as well as some of the board members thought it would and maybe it needs a little bit of change.

Ironically enough, the board decided to revamp the Vets’ Committee back in 2001, which was the eighth straight year it had given someone a plaque (not a bust, as some Hall of Fame voters seem to think).

Typical Hall of Fame – set up a system that makes it too easy to get in (or appears to be too easy to get in), replace it with a more stringent system, and then fret that it’s too hard to get in, and maybe it should be a little easier. Should we expect anything less of the institution Bill James once famously described as “a self-defining institution that has by and large failed to define itself?”

Oh, well. Much like the MVP and Cy Young votes of November, the Veterans’ Committee votes every other February give fans something to argue about in the off-season. And sometimes that’s the most you can hope for…

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